Bipartisan Agreement That Obamacare Warrants IT Reform

Opening statements from the House Oversight Committee prioritize reform so government technology projects don’t fail again.

Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Rep Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, D-M.D.
National Journal
Clara Ritger
Nov. 13, 2013, 5:32 a.m.

In his 20-minute open­ing re­marks, House Over­sight and Gov­ern­ment Re­form Com­mit­tee Chair­man Dar­rell Issa, R-Cal­if., said the botched rol­lout of Health­Care.gov calls for le­gis­lat­ive ac­tion to en­sure the gov­ern­ment can suc­cess­fully im­ple­ment large-scale tech­no­logy pro­jects.

“This is part of a pat­tern that oc­curs due to fail­ure to ad­here to the private sec­tor’s world-class stand­ards for IT pro­duc­tion,” Issa said.

Rank­ing mem­ber Eli­jah Cum­mings, D-Md., agreed, adding that the Cen­ters for Medi­care and Medi­caid Ser­vices, the Health and Hu­man Ser­vices agency re­spons­ible for im­ple­ment­ing the fed­er­al health in­sur­ance ex­change,”did not de­liv­er” on Health­Care.gov.

Still, Cum­mings also called Wed­nes­day’s hear­ing an­oth­er Re­pub­lic­an at­tempt to thwart the pres­id­ent’s health care law. “The Re­pub­lic­ans shut down the gov­ern­ment for three weeks,” he said. “They threatened to de­fault on our debts un­less we re­pealed the Af­ford­able Care Act. Now they are at­tempt­ing to use the con­gres­sion­al over­sight pro­cess to scare Amer­ic­ans from the web­site by mak­ing polit­ic­al as­ser­tions about the se­cur­ity of their private in­form­a­tion.”

On Oct. 10, Issa and Sen. Lamar Al­ex­an­der, R-Tenn., launched an in­vest­ig­a­tion in­to the im­ple­ment­a­tion of Health­Care.gov. In the weeks lead­ing up to Wed­nes­day’s hear­ing, Issa’s of­fice re­leased in­tern­al memos from the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion re­veal­ing se­cur­ity con­cerns and oth­er tech­nic­al glitches pri­or to Health­Care.gov’s Oct. 1 launch.

Issa at­trib­uted those mis­haps to delayed reg­u­la­tions and to a late start on the design and de­vel­op­ment of the Obama­care web­site. Those delays, he al­leged, were a polit­ic­al move to buf­fer Obama from neg­at­ive pub­lic opin­ion.

“It seems sad that you pass a law in the first few months of an ad­min­is­tra­tion and that reg­u­la­tions came to a halt so that they would not be out there dur­ing the pres­id­ent’s reelec­tion,” Issa said.

Issa also told the HHS rep­res­ent­at­ives present to testi­fy at the hear­ing that clos­ing the se­cur­ity loop­holes his com­mit­tee has un­covered was a pri­or­ity mov­ing for­ward.

What We're Following See More »
DRUG OFFENDERS
Obama Commutes the Sentences of 58 Prisoners
11 minutes ago
WHY WE CARE

President Obama has announced another round of commutations of prison sentences. Most of the 58 individuals named are incarcerated for possessions with intent to distribute controlled substances. The prisoners will be released between later this year and 2018.

STAFF PICKS
Trump Roadmapped His Candidacy in 2000
1 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

The Daily Beast has unearthed a piece that Donald Trump wrote for Gear magazine in 2000, which anticipates his 2016 sales pitch quite well. "Perhaps it's time for a dealmaker who can get the leaders of Congress to the table, forge consensus, and strike compromise," he writes. Oddly, he opens by defending his reputation as a womanizer: "The hypocrites argue that a man who loves and appreciates beautiful women (and does so legally and openly) shouldn't become a national leader? Is there something wrong with appreciating beautiful women? Don't we want people in public office who show signs of life?"

Source:
‘NO MORAL OR ETHICAL GROUNDING’
Sen. Murphy: Trump Shouldn’t Get Classified Briefigs
1 hours ago
THE LATEST
JOINS BUSHES, MCCAIN
Romney to Skip Convention
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

An aide to Mitt Romney confirmed to the Washington Post that the 2102 GOP nominee will not attend the Republican convention this year. He joins the two living Republican presidents, George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush, as well as 2008 nominee John McCain in skipping the event. Even among living Republican nominees, that leaves only Bob Dole who could conceivably show up. Dole did say in January that he'd prefer Trump to Ted Cruz, but his age (92) could keep him from attending.

Source:
CALIFORNIA MAKES IT 21
FDA to Ban All Tobacco Sales to Minors
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS

In a long-awaiting new rule, the Food and Drug Administration will ban sale of all tobacco products—including e-cigarettes—to those under 18. The rule takes effect in 90 days. It's part of a larger package of regulations that "gives FDA authority to regulate—but not to ban—all tobacco products, from e-cigarettes to cigars and hookahs." Meanwhile, California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill on Wednesday that would bump the legal age to buy all tobacco products from 18 to 21.

Source:
×